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Work continues with phase one of CCH's expansion project

Pictured is Clarke County Hospital.
OST photo by AMY HANSEN Pictured is Clarke County Hospital.

Things are progressing step by step with the building expansion project at Clarke County Hospital (CCH).

The project, which is approximately a $22.6 million investment, has been divided into phases of work.

The project's master facility plan was approved in 2012. Progress on the project is beind done in phases. The hospital board approves each phase as the project continues along.

Clarke County Hospital Chief Executive Officer Brian Evans said in a July 31 interview the first phase of the project involves moving the of the loading dock and materials management department to the first floor, east wing on the north side of the hospital building.

The project also calls for adding an enlarged generator for emergency power to the hospital.

Parking lot

Another part of phase one originally was to add a new parking lot on the east side of the hospital.

Bids were let out for phase one. The bids were broken up into five bid packages for specific areas, such as electrical, mechanical, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and fire suppression.

Some of the bids came in over budget.

"So, what we decided to do was accept bid package two and three, because we felt they were good bids, but we changed the scope of the project, and we removed the east parking lot from the phase one of the project," Evans said.

He added, "Because of the size of the project, what we felt was, we didn't get good bids because it was a smaller package, and we decided that we're going to postpone that part of the project until phase two when we do a lot more earth work, concrete work, with addition of the building and everything else. And, combine it all into a package in phase two where it's going to have a lot more scope and get a lot more interest, and hopefully get a lot better competitive bids so we can get it back within our budget."

The hospital has repackaged the "materials management side of things" into one bid package, Evans said.

Public hearing

A July 31 public hearing at CCH was held to let out a bid package related to a general contractor, which will complement the two bids the hospital board has already accepted for the for the electrical and mechanical HVAC.

The three bids will cover the work on the loading dock and emergency generator.

"It's a change of scope from what we originally anticipated, but it's a step we felt we needed to do to keep our project within budget," Evans said.

Originally, the hospital had a capital gain goal of $5 million, and a feasibility study was done. Now, the hospital's capital-campaign goal has changed to $1 million.

"We're going to be looking at financing about $17.5 million through bonds," Evans said.

Affect the taxpayer?

When asked if the hospital project was going to affect the Clarke County taxpayer, Evans said it should not.

Evans said, in the last nine years, the hospital has reduced the tax levy every year, and there's no other county hospital in Iowa that's reduced its tax asking. The current levy rate now is down approximately 30 percent.

"We've reduced tax asking over $1 million over the period of time ... I don't want to turn around and change that," Evans said. "As we've done our financial projections to say how we're going to pay for revenue bonds with this project, we don't have any increases in our taxes budgeted in it. It's maintaining at a current rate. It doesn't have any increases with. And, when I say current rate, I'm talking about current dollars, not current levy rate."


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